Conduct of research is an essential tool for the evaluation and improvement of health services. In Israel, research on persons with dementia is very limited, with the largest portion of such research involving a few surveys and examining risk factors for dementia. Very few studies describe clinical research, and those that do either include participants at early stages of dementia, or rely completely on caregivers' perceptions and experiences, often without reference to any individual with dementia. This dearth of research is due, to a substantial extent, to Ministry of Health regulations which do not permit family proxy consent for research involving persons with dementia. Alternative models for regulation of consent for research exist in other countries, including the U.S., and these allow for proxy consent under certain conditions. This paper presents such a model and its underlying ethical principles. It contends that the current state of affairs, which stands in the way of clinical research concerning persons with advanced dementia, is contrary to the interests of such persons, their caregivers, and Israeli society. Therefore, this paper calls for a change in the present regulations and/or law in the cause of advancing knowledge and improving care for persons with dementia.
- Human subjects research
- Informed consent